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The lore of mermaids goes back hundreds of years, even as far as the middle ages. These mythical creatures have long enchanted us, playing both hero and villain alike. There’s something incredible and mysterious about these creatures that exist well beyond what we can see, making us long to be part of their underwater world.
For many of us, the first introduction to merfolk came in the form of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, creating a nostalgic association between our childhood and mermaids. The rise of the mermaid trend has come at a time that speaks to the longing for simpler times, when it was acceptable to play around with crazy makeup and run around the house singing Under the Sea at the top of our voices.
The trend really began in the world of fashion with the mermaid style gown, form fitted with the flared out skirt to emulate the mermaid’s tail. As these dresses grew in popularity from wedding styles to celebrities on the Hollywood red carpet, the trend expanded to include mermaid hairstyles. Now, we’re beginning to see mermaid makeup.
The color palette characterizes mermaid style – shades of blue, pink, green, and purple. Such tones speak to the seas and the creatures that live in them, not to mention that these hues work on both the dark and light scales. When it comes to makeup, the styles vary between references to mermaids through the color choice to literal mermaid looks (complete with scale effects).
We’ve gathered the best mermaid looks from all sides of the trend, so matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it here!
Best Mermaid Makeup Ideas & Inspiration
Purple eyeshadow perfectly complements the scales in this ode to mermaid’s style. Using a shimmer powder helps to set off the scales and makes them seem more lifelike, while adding the shimmer to the neck carries the theme through. Fun nautical jewelry accents complete the look and give a few more pops of color.
A cool take on a winged eyeliner look, this style uses the mermaid color palette rather than actual mermaid designs. Bright pink eyeshadow works nicely against the silver of the winged outline as well as complementing the hair color. Adding a touch of holographic glitter gives that mermaid touch, replicating the ripples of light off a mermaid’s scales.
Pearls of the Sea
This look goes mermaid all the way, between the pearl decals, scale accents, and shimmery shadows. Going for a two-toned style adds a nice contrast to the style, with deep blue eyeshadow the perfect foil to the pink. Blending the colors along the curve of the nose helps to bring balance to the scales framing the face, as well as softening the effect of the eyeshadow. Bringing the glitter and color into the hair really makes the style.
Queen of the Sea
The mermaid trend has led to some of these types of photo shoots, with the model dressing as a “real” mermaid. Nonetheless, you can create a cool makeup look that will work with your costume. In this case, the makeup needs to support the overall look rather than detract from it. Sharp brows, killer lashes, and gorgeous lips are all that is needed to make the mermaid look her best. The addition of the aqua gems is the perfect accent to set off the style and match the hair color.
Dark and Mysterious
Going for darker tones works nicely with the coloring of the model, particularly her darker hair. The scales work nicely, framing the face in a “reverse mask” while matching the eyeshadow. Using pearls is a nice accent while complementing the crown, likewise applying different sizes of pearls keeps the style visually interesting. Putting the scales along the rest of the body implies the model is a real mermaid, trying to break free from her human shell.
Once more, we see an example of an ocean-toned style rather than a full mermaid look. Here, a blue glitter cut crease that emulates both the waves of the sea and the tail of a mermaid. Symmetrical diamonds work together with the eyeshadow while drawing attention to the one jewel in the middle. Finishing with a blue lipstick balances the style and complements the eyeshadow.
Beautiful and Bold
Who says the mermaid trend is just for girls? This gorgeous mermaid makeup look works perfectly with the model, the scales in particular highlighting the sharp lines of his jaw. Bright halo eyeshadow draws attention to the eyes, but the real work of art here is the scales. This style combines two techniques in creating the scales. The first method involves putting a fishnet stocking or stencil over the face then dabbing the eyeshadow. The second, you could take a fish scales pattern (like for your Cricut) and apply it to your face. Then you apply the shadow, peel off, and you’ll be left with the scale outline!
For this mermaid makeup look, the whole of the mermaid is confined within the eye. Blending the colors together, splashes of blue, pink, purple, and aqua, creates the feeling of the ocean. The glitter provides that mermaid touch, simulating scales and adding a bit of fun. Finishing with shimmer mimics the sparkle of the sun on the water, another nautical nod. Choosing not to add eyeliner is a conscious decision that lets the eyeshadow sing.
Silver Cut Crease
It isn’t always appropriate to go full-mermaid with your style. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a look that hints at the trend! Here, the color combination reminds us of the light on the seas, the gradation between the eyeshadows working together beautifully. A distinctive shape of the wing and the underliner give the sense of fins. Accents of shimmer and the silver cut crease add to the overall sun-on-the-water idea, perfect for a stunning (if subtle) mermaid look.
While this look is slightly off the typical mermaid makeup style, the lavender hair and body paint make clear references to the trend. The hair color works nicely with the rhinestones, as the purple tones glimmer out from the gems when caught by the light. Stunning eyes, from the striking lashes to the bright pink eyeshadow, completes the effect.
A cool ombré style, the mermaid look comes through in a few ways. First, the ombré eye makeup looks amazing, graduating from an aqua color to a darker blue, then accented with pink. White eyeliner is a fun change, with the wings replaced with fins. Going for a bronze scale shakes up the color palette, making the scales seem as though they are a natural part of the model rather than painted.
A far darker feeling, the watercolor effect creates almost a bleeding look in the mermaid colors. The base of the look is an amazing eyeshadow style, using cream-based shadows rather than powders to get that smooth look. Framing the eyeshadow with the blue brows and lipstick makes the style cohesive. The touch of the black pearls match such a dark and mysterious look, and brings in the mermaid element.
She Sells Seashells
The addition of the seashell accents takes this mermaid makeup look to the next level. All the other elements are there – the colors, the pearls, the scales. However, there is just something magical about the tiny seashells that amps up the style. Carrying the look from the crown of the head all the way down the chest makes it seem real and not a makeup look at all.
Not all mermaid’s are beautiful and sweet. In many tales, mermaids and sirens lure sailors to their doom, promises of love gone wrong with the reality of drowning. This mermaid look takes inspiration from such dark creatures, from the blue of the skin to the terrifying gaze of the eyes. Particularly if you’re going for a costume look, this is a great option.
The jewels are the star in this makeup look, sea-green gems and small diamonds working together to create amazing shapes and focal points. With such adornment, it is important to create a makeup look that matches without distracting. Green shimmer and eyeliner are all that is needed to supplement the gems, effectively making the eyes pop while supporting the rest of the style.
Gorgeous Caribbean blue is the central component of this style, making the eye makeup bright and fun. Working nicely with the gems, the pretty blue eyeshadow pops and draws attention to the eye. Keeping the rest of the look fairly simple helps to maintain the impact of the whole mermaid look.
If you’ve already gone for the mermaid hairstyle, it makes sense that you would want to pair it with mermaid makeup. Deep blues and greens play off each other in the hair, weaving together with the braids. Two-toned eyeshadow and silver lips complete the whimsical look, truly looking like a mermaid walking on land.
Bright blue and pink are just the right complements to the model’s gorgeous skin tone and burnished copper hair. The eyeshadows are mixed to add a whimsical element, set off by the scale design on the one cheek. This design uses another scale technique, simply painting the scales on by hand. With a steady hand, this scale method can be quite effective!
Rainbow tones make the scales the star of this makeup look. Bright green hues transition into gorgeous blue, then to deep purple, all using the fishnet scale technique. Using the same shade of purple in the eyeshadow and lipstick brings the style together, while the little gems add just the right touch of glitz.
Glitter is the main accent in this mermaid makeup style, all the way from the headband to the body glitter. Pretty aquamarine is an ideal eyeshadow shade to offset the darker hues of the rest of the style, which the shimmery pink of the lipstick works nicely with the other accessories. Going dark with the scales allows them to stand out while contrasting with the lighter pink.
The use of color contrast makes this look. Using deep purple tones in the scale pattern is a perfect extension of the hair color, while the pale blue lipstick helps make the eyes pop. If this look weren’t mermaid enough, the lovely and intricate crown sets the mood.
Given its already nautical connotations, it makes perfect sense to use coral in a mermaid style. In this case, coral is the focal point, used in almost all the elements. Having the scales the same as the hair color (even down to the eyebrows!) implies that they are natural and belong there. Using the blue eyeshadow as a color contrast helps to make the eyes pop, while the gemmed faux freckles are a whimsical touch.
Baby blue eyeshadow is an adorable touch in this mermaid style. The blend beyond the delicate cute crease is perfect, and complements this example of a mermaid makeup look. Using a fun rainbow effect for the scales gives a touch of fun, and the pastel shades helps to create a theme within the design. A few flecks of glitter and you have the perfect finish!
In this instance, water tones allude to a mermaid look without going for any of the obvious designs. Bold blue hues work together to create a striking style while working nicely against the natural coloring of the model. The shine and shimmer of the eyeshadow make one think of waves and the sun reflecting off the sea, at the same time the curve of the eye reinforces the movement of the ocean. Even the glossy, wet-looking nature of the lipstick immediately draws the mind to water.
Tiny touches used here make this a mermaid look – the pearls, color tones, and the gems like droplets of water. However, the wow factor for this style comes from deliberate choices to make the shapes within the face stand out. For example, putting the blue eyeshadow under the eye rather than on top draws your gaze immediately while also serving to widen the eye. Additionally, the lipstick doesn’t follow the natural curve of the lips, but rather forms a distinctive, retro shape that fits with the hairstyle.
When posing in such a beautiful setting, you want the true mermaid elements to sing during your photo shoot. As that is the case, you want to select a makeup style that will support rather than distract from your look. Therefore, this is the time to go for a natural look rather than something more colorful, particularly given the style of mermaid portrayed. Bronzer, blush, and highlight are all you need to make this look!
Anyone Seen my Dinglehopper?
If you want to really go for the Ariel style, without being literal, this is the perfect color palette. The purple eyebrows make the connection to her seashells while the shimmery teal eyeshadow mimics the fins. A bright lip works to balance the other deep tones, and this color works nicely against the eyebrows. You could also go for a deep red in the eyebrows to get that “Ariel hair” look.
Sea Eyes, Beach Waves
Just a touch of the ocean works perfectly with a gorgeous beach wave, creating a subtle yet stunning mermaid makeup style. The shimmer of the eyeshadow, along with the depth of the tone, make the look pop. Additionally, the color is a great complement to the bright blonde of the hair, developing a sense of cohesion within the overall style.
Similarly, light blue tones are all you need to make a water-themed style. Using an ombré method to blend the shadows creates the sense of light reflecting on the water, working with the color to solidify that idea. Whether you want to go for additional touches to make this a more literal mermaid look is up to you!
Teal is a great choice if you’re looking for a color as the anchor for your mermaid style. Particularly in this case, as the model’s coloring is a bit darker, teal won’t cause washout or distract from the look. Teal also works nicely with other colors, as you can see here with the blend of purple and charcoal tones. An ideal method when going for a complex look is to find one common theme, and this style is a perfect example!
Different special effects makeup techniques come into play for this style. The scale decal sets the color palette, working nicely against the purple of the hair. These same colors are reflected in the eyeshadow style, blending the brighter colors across the eye while contrasting against the deep plum above the cut crease. Dark lipstick balances the style, and the lights create a fun effect against the ghostly nature of the contacts.
The Sea Witch
For Ursula fans, this style is the perfect homage. Using a purple base, you establish the theme, and then build on with different layers of color. A cool airbrush-splatter technique blends the tones in a unique way, while framing the face and working much like blush and highlight in a typical style. Charcoal accents in the eyes and on the lips help these features to stand out. Adding the gems at the end is a fun touch for a bit of personal flair.
Mermaid myths have been told around the world for centuries, so it makes sense to blend this style with other island looks. Beautiful braids and twists are gorgeous with this purple and blue mermaid makeup style, and add a little extra something to the overall look. The way the scales frame the face also amps up this design, as does the consistency in the color in every aspect.
The cool ombré hair is the star of this show, making the biggest impact right away. Fitting with the same color tones, the small scales seem to come from within the hair, as if they were natural. Finishing with a deep red lip fits with the idea of sirens as seductresses, luring sailors to their doom. This mermaid seems nice enough though!
Rainbow Body Paint
If you’re going for broke on a mermaid makeup look, this just might be the one! The swirling of the colors from cool tones to warm and back again make her seem like a real fish in the water, scales changing hue with the light. These scales have a three dimensional quality that comes from layering colors and types of makeup, the effect creating the most realistic scales. Applying the scales to the lips and down the body furthers this realism. If that weren’t enough, styling the hair to make it appear wet helps to further the illusion.
Another simple style, the glitter used here is what makes it a mermaid look. Holographic glitter mimics the scales of a fish (or mermaid’s tail), while the bright purple is one typically seen in mermaid looks. If you want to try a bright, mermaid-esque style without going all the way, this is a great place to start.
Not all mermaids are pretty – in some lore, mermaids looked much more like fish than beach babes with fins. This color palette speaks to those fishier merfolk, the pale green through the hair, eyebrows, and lips intentionally lighting features you would normally darken. The sea foam hue works into the eyeshadow as well, but a hit a coral brings a color contrast and brightens the look. Here, the model creates scales with a dotted style, most likely with a q-tip or the end of a makeup brush dipped in face paint.
Seashells and Gemstones
On the other hand, pale green fits nicely with other looks such as this one. Layered with teal, the scales make the ideal base for the seashells and jewels. A darker color would overpower these delicate decals, which clearly are the focal point for the design. Sticking with a light coral for the eyes and lips helps to balance the look, while the winged eyeliner adds that touch of daring.
A Vision in Pearls
A dark teal tone contrasts nicely with the lavender of the eyes and lips while referencing a classic mermaid color palette. Curving the teal out from the hairline makes it seem a natural feature, furthered by the framing effect on the face and neck. Strategic placement of the pearls adds glamour to the look while emphasizing the mermaid theme.
One of the best ways to allude to an oceanic style is through water effects. Two come into play in this style – waves and watercolor. The waves make their appearance in the cut crease, following the natural curve of the eye and using deep colors to fit with the idea of surf. Watercolor comes under the eye, with the drip effect appearing to be made by real water.
Lady in the Water
This style is about as far from whimsical mermaid as you can get! A look that is all villain, the contrast of the deep green with the eerie pale tones of the eyes, hair, and foundation sets the bar high for creep-factor. Smoky green eyeshadow pulls all the way to the hairline, creating a shape of a sinister nature, while the deliberate lines of green on the rest of the face emphasize the theme. If you want to go for dark with your mermaid look, this is it.
Frame of Scales
Many of the mermaid makeup looks use scales to frame the face, but in this instance, the frame is the focal point of the style. Bright purple scales surround the facial features, broken up by touches of pink above the eye and on the lip. Adding glitter on top of the scales, as well as gems above the eyebrows, gives a sense of depth to the style. These features also prevent the look from being too one-note.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid made its debut in the time of big hair, bright colors, and cropped sweatshirts. It makes sense, when looking for a mermaid style, to bring in some of these fun features. The bright nature of the blue and purple used in this look would be a welcome sight in the 1980’s, with the geometric nature of the winged eyeliner also fitting right in. A touch of glitter for the mermaid scales, and you have a unique mermaid look!
A great way to do a mermaid makeup style without going full face is to confine the look to your eyeshadow. In this case, the entire theme fits right within the eyeshadow, scales and all. Using the green and blue shimmer on the eyelid works for the fins, while the purple mimics those classic Ariel seashells. Whether or not to add the scales is a personal choice, depending on how obvious you want to be (and how steady your hand is!).
Ride the Waves
Blended eyeshadow of this nature is a true work of art, creating the illusion of a moving wave. The bright white eyeshadow is like the foam lapping on the shore, while the darker colors fit with the curing wave behind the surf. Using a delicate curve, both along the eye and with the wing of the eyeliner, the shape of a wave is born. Deeper tones make this a great look for any special occasion – only you need to know it’s a mermaid style!
Fish for Style
This look goes for a surrealist style, using chunky false eyelashes and the eyeshadow like paint on a canvas. The goal for this design is to show the mythical nature of mermaids, that they don’t necessarily look like humans. Gold eyeshadow and unique eyeliner shapes emphasize this point, as does the simple stained lip. Gems add missing glitz while fitting with the bizarre style.
Speaking of fish, several stories talk of mermaids have gills or fins on their faces, much like a real fish. With makeup prosthetics, this vision of the folklore comes to life. For the rest of the makeup, it is important to keep it simple as anything more complex will compete with the prosthetic fins. Going for a red hair color works nicely with the tone of the model and the coloring in the fins.
Another no holds barred mermaid style, this look runs the full gambit (with the exception of prosthetics). The bright green wig plays nicely against the cooler tones that make up the design. All the makeup components flirt with touching one another without actually doing so, implying the scales are supposed to be there and this really is her lip color. Completing the design with body art ups the ante, while the jewels add a fun three dimensional element.
Between the blue eyeshadow and the dramatic lips, this dark and beautiful style combines the best of all the mermaid worlds. This design plays on subtle elements (so no scales) while sticking with a brighter blue out of the color scheme. However, charcoal implies a darker side to the style, which fits with the siren myths. Using a pale foundation helps all the elements to pop, yet a touch of bronzer smooths the transition to the hair color.
If you are one who likes to be daring with your makeup, you might have just found the trend for you. However you want to interpret the mermaid style, dark and dangerous versus light and bubbly, you’ll find yourself transformed by the design you choose. Mermaids have long enchanted humans, and whether you believe them to be real or not, you can bring these mythical creatures alive with one of these makeup looks!